Just when you wished this nightmare of a season couldn’t end soon, there are still another seven Premier League fixtures to go. But that doesn’t mean the players are get away from the football during these International breaks. If anything, their countries come calling, hoping to instill even a whiff of self-belief into them. Either way, it could only help for everyone to not be at Craven Cottage these past two weeks; especially when there is a protest expected to take place. Anywho, let’s take a look at who represented their national teams this month and how they performed.
D Håvard Nordveit (Norway/47 caps, 2 goals)
D Tim Ream (United States/28 caps, 1 goal)
M André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon/16 caps, 2 goals)
M Floyd Ayité (Togo/41 caps, 11 goals)
M Jean Michaël Seri (Ivory Coast/22 caps, 2 goals)
M Mattias Kait (Estonia/16 caps, 5 goals)
F Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbia/47 caps, 23 goals)
F Ryan Babel (Netherlands/56 caps, 8 goals)
Even while going through one of the worst seasons in Premier League history, Fulham still have plenty of players that are deemed good enough to represent their National Teams. That’s how cutthroat England’s top flight is and how highly regarded the talent pool is from top to bottom of each senior team. However, two things stand out when constantly looking at the list of Fulham Internationals.
First, plenty of them only represent countries that either struggle to make it to major tournaments and/or struggle to hit the top tiers of world football. Besides Ryan Babel, you’ll be hard pressed to find a Fulham player that is guaranteed to be in the biggest pressure cookers of them all. That said, it’s not like many players from Fulham’s previous iterations have had players of that ilk strolling through the training ground. The club will always be at a tier where they need to find diamonds in the rough and hope they shine through. That’s why you’ll keep seeing Togo, Guinea, Estonia and Norway Internationals walking through the door until further notice. That’s why this club has to keep investing in analytics whether supporters like it or not.
Second, the list has certainly changed since last November. Marcus Bettinelli’s season ending knee injury resulted in him no longer being a part of the England setup while Scotland really could have used either Tom Cairney or Kevin McDonald, regardless of how they performed. Lastly, Stefan Johansen is no longer on the list now that he is with West Brom. But that doesn’t mean the list of Senior Internationals has decreased too much.
If anything Håvard Nordveit has come in to be Fulham’s designated Norwegian International and went on to start both of the two fixtures for Euro 2020 qualifying. He was a part of the 2-1 defeat to Spain and sadly scored an own goal to help rivals Sweden come back from 2-0 down to drawing 3-3. As for Mattias Kait, he returned to the Estonian team only to see his side get beat 2-0 to Northern Ireland during qualifiers. Thankfully, the midfielder was able to be a part of a 1-0 friendly win over Gilbralter. Ryan Babel returned to the international scene and started both games for the Netherlands in the process. One of them was for 59 minutes in a 4-0 win to Bulgaria while the other was just for the first half in a 3-2 revenge defeat to the hands of Germany. Aleksander Mitrovic was not able to add to his international goal tally, but he was a part of a major 1-1 draw with group favorites Portugal.
Across the Atlantic, Tim Ream got back into the fold with the United States in their 1-0 win over Ecuador and a 1-1 draw with Chile. Just don’t think he should be playing left back over Joe Bryan anytime soon, ok?
Over in Africa, Floyd Ayite’s Togo team failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations this summer while Ibrahima Cisse’s Guinea, Jean Michael Seri’s Ivory Coast, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s Cameroon will all be in Egypt in this summer’s final. For Ayite, it was bittersweet as they fell at the final hurdle to Benin 2-1 in what could be Emanual Adebayor’s final game representing his country. Meanwhile, Anguissa was a part of a comfortable 3-0 win over Comoros as did Jean Michael Seri in Ivory Coast’s 3-0 win over Rwanda.
F Ryan Sessegnon (England Under-21s/8 caps)
D Steven Sessegnon (England Under-19s/9 caps, 2 goals)
G Luca Ashby-Hammond (England Under-18s/7 caps)
G George Wickens (England Under-18s/1 cap)
D Cody Drameh (England Under-18s/1 cap)
F Terry Ablade (Finland Under-18s/4 caps, 1 goal)
M Harvey Elliott (England Under-17s/6 caps, 1 goal) - v
D Connor McAvoy (Scotland Under-17s/6 caps)
At youth level, Ryan Sessegnon may be having a sophomore slump, but he at least has the Under-21s to fall back to. When in doubt, he could always find his brother somewhere at St. George’s Park where he is training with the Under-19s. Unfortunately, it was more doom and gloom for the Sessegnon’s as Ryan took part in England’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Germany. It was that youth team’s first defeat in two years. Meanwhile, Steven took part in all three matches of the elite round of Euro Under-19 qualifying and was not able to help his country advance to this summer’s final rounds. England looked like they were going to qualify smoothly after a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic, but a 2-1 defeat to Greece and a 2-2 draw with Denmark saw them eliminated.
At Under-18 level, George Wickens and Cody Drameh made their debuts while Luca Ashby-Hammond continued to rack up caps where he is deemed England’s number one in that age group. The squad was one of four teams gunning for the UAE Sports Chain Cup and finished as runners up after a 3-2 win over Mexico, a 1-0 defeat to the Czech Republic and a 0-0 draw with France. Elsewhere, Terry Ablade scored for Finland only to see them get beat 2-1 in the second of a two-match friendly series with Montenegro.
At Under-17 level, Conor McAvoy played in all three of Scotland’s elite qualifying round games for the Euro Under-17s, but was not able to help his country advance further to this summer’s tournament. As for Elliott, he only played in the 5-2 win over Switzerland, but it was more than enough for Fulham’s youngest ever player to see England through to the finals.